According to a 2021 study no-shows cost the British hospitality sector £17.6 billion a year (roughly 20 billion euros). The same study also showed that younger people, 18-34-year-olds, were the most likely to become no-shows. What complicates matters is the fact that these young people eat out more often than any other age group — they’re important for the industry.
Many restaurants are no longer willing to accept no-shows as a fact of life. Things need to change to avoid wasting food, money and time. We’re in this together – let’s look at some ways to solve the no-show puzzle!
Most guests who become no-shows simply aren’t aware of the consequences. You can change this by being honest and communicating with them.
Use your social media channels to reach as many guests as possible. Let them know how much it means to you that they remember to cancel in good time.
To make sure you get the best reaction from guests, use a kind and informal tone to explain the situation. There’s no need to go into a lot of details.
Here’s an example:
We missed some of you for dinner last night! Want to help reduce food waste and make our team’s workday better? Don’t forget to cancel your booking if you can’t make it *heart emoji*
If you often appear in your guests’ social media feeds, they will feel more like they know you and your team. This is especially true if you share behind-the-scenes content such as fun facts about team members, cooking videos, and other things that make it easier for guests to see your restaurant as more than just a name and a menu.
The more committed and loyal your guests are, the less likely they are to become no-shows. Naturally, this also has a lot to do with the great experience you provide at your restaurant, but regular updates on various social media platforms will remind them why they love you!
But there’s no reason to avoid prepayment because you’re afraid guests won’t like it. You can tailor your own version of prepayment and use it only at certain times, for set menus or for larger groups.
The prepaid amount can be either a deposit or a part of the price for a set menu. You decide how much makes sense for you. Guests who have paid an amount when completing a booking will have to cancel in good time to get a full refund, for instance, 48 hours or 24 hours before their visit is scheduled.
Guests happily pay in advance for concerts, trips and soccer matches. They won’t mind paying for a great dining experience either.
With a DinnerBooking Business, Enterprise or Chef’s Table plan, you can use our smart feature, Conflicting Bookings. This feature shows you if your guests have booked tables at other DinnerBooking restaurants at the same time as they were supposed to eat at your restaurant. That’s just one of many functions that we have developed to help you reduce the risk of no-shows.
SMS reminders, event tickets and prepayment are also strong tools that can effectively reduce no-shows. Want to know more? Book a free demo right here.
With guests lined up on a waiting list, you can easily fill tables when someone cancels last minute or doesn’t show up at all.
Some restaurants use an overbooking strategy instead of a waiting list, and that can work, after all, even airlines overbook, but it can also backfire and result in unhappy guests. That’s why the waiting list is a much better and safer option to use in your no-show combat strategy.